This blog is about healthcare, but it’s also not.
It’s bigger than that.
Earlier this week, I had an experience worth sharing. It was 5:45am and I was sitting in the clinic waiting for my first patient well over an hour before the clinic “opened” at 7:00am. This is a normal occurrence for me as I tend to work extra hours to accommodate the hectic schedules of the patients that I treat. On this particular day, a man (who belongs to the gym upstairs), walked into the clinic and asked me what I was doing there so early in the morning. I explained to him that I often treat patients before the formal clinic hours begin and the first words out of his mouth were…
‘I hope you’re getting paid for this.’
I explained to him that I was not getting paid for ‘this’ and that I understood that as a salaried employee, it doesn’t directly benefit me to treat patients outside of my scheduled work hours. The more I thought about this interaction, the more I thought about the other things that I do without expectation of return and then I thought about why I do them.
I’m not getting paid for this.
I don’t make money from this blog, I don’t make money from instagram, I undercharge for my coaching services and I take phone calls from strangers and provide help (that I could be charging for) to anyone who asks for it.
I do these things without expectation of immediate return because, to me, these things are opportunities to have a positive impact on the world around me is worth more than any value that I could receive. This blog is about adding value first, before expectation of return and how that mindset can transform healthcare and more importantly, your life.
I chose the profession of physical therapy because I care about helping other people and I want to use my work as an avenue to lift others up and leave this world better than I found it. I understand that life is bigger than just me and that I serve a greater purpose. Part of that purpose (for me) is loving others always and sacrificing to serve those around me as best I can. For me, every interaction, no matter how big or how small, has the potential to change someone’s life. Through that perspective, I am more than willing to sacrifice an hour of sleep to have the opportunity to add value and leave another human being better off than I found them.
Before I keep going, let me make something clear. It’s s naive to think that we can give without ever needing anything in return; I know that. It’s unrealistic to believe that any human being can give without return because, in the end, we are all human. I understand the importance of rest and I acknowledge the need for self care. There are times where we must forgo sacrifice for other endeavors and choose to put ourselves first. That’s the reason that on airplanes the flight attendants tell you to put your oxygen mask on first in the case of an emergency. In life, this is where self-awareness comes into the picture, because we are no good to others if we are constantly running on fumes. It is crucial that we understand when we need to take care of ourselves and when it is reasonable to sacrifice, because in the end, the sustainability of service is just as important as the service itself.
So yes, between work, documentation and other endeavors, I work upwards of 60-70 hours a week. However, I have also developed the self-awareness to make this lifestyle sustainable for me. The self-care involved in 60-70 hour weeks will look different for everyone, but I know what I need to do in order to give how I give and serve how I serve.
I take care of myself so that I can better take care of others.
But let’s get back to the point of this blog.
I’m happy to work extra hours that I don’t get paid for because I am doing good for others and that is worth more to me than a little bit of sleep and potential financial gain. I’m a firm believer that if you add value first on a consistent basis, things will work out down the road. I believe with all of my heart that if you always make sure that others are better off, then you will be taken care of as well. I am of the mindset that you should give before you take and do what’s right regardless of the outcome or circumstance.
I know that I’m working hard and I know that on paper, what I do doesn’t make sense. However, in life, and to me, it all makes perfect sense. I sacrifice what I can afford to add value to the people who need me. If I don’t help these people, I could be missing out on a chance to change a life. So here’s the point. In healthcare, or in life, there are more important things than compensations and outcomes and (as long as it is sustainable for me) I don’t feel the need to let external gain confine the good that I can do.
With all of that being said, I would argue that you should go out and get what you’re worth. Do good first, but advocate for yourself when the time is right. Financial gain shouldn’t be the motive, but it also shouldn’t be ignored. Be so good that they can’t ignore you, do your best, always do the right thing and then get get value for your added value when appropriate.
Down at it’s core, this blog is about being the best version of yourself and living out a meaningful mission in life. It’s about being human first and foremost, because the best healthcare professionals (insert your profession) are the best humans. In all that you do, make sure that others are better off because of you. Do everything that you can to add value (within reason), love others (especially when it’s hard) and leave this world better than you found it every chance you get (especially when it is inconvenient).
This next sentence might seem nuts, but if you know me, then you know that I mean it with everything that I am. If I can add value to your life in even the smallest of ways, please don’t hesitate to reach out (908-301-6581).
Thank you as always for your support.
Joe Rinaldi, PT, DPT